Britain, where one out of every 50 citizens got infected with the Corona virus, closed for the third time since Tuesday with the last call of the government.
British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak also announced the new Corona aid package of 6 billion 200 million dollars. The aid package aims to ensure that employees lose their jobs and companies continue their activities as long as the tight measures that are planned to be loosened from mid-February continue.
Britain, which is the second in the ranking of deaths due to Corona infections in the European continent, is one of the countries where the pandemic has been hit hardest. Britain was also the country whose economy contracted the most among the G-7 countries during the first wave of the pandemic last spring.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the latest data revealed that 2 percent of the country’s population, more than one million people, contracted Corona infection.
More than 1 million 300 thousand people in the UK received the first dose of Corona vaccine. However, this is not enough for the vaccine to be effective in reducing the spread of the Corona virus.
Announcing the decision to close late Monday, Prime Minister Johnson said that the new and more contagious variant of the Corona virus detected in the UK has spread very rapidly, and the National Health Service is at risk of difficulty in providing healthcare within 21 days.
27 thousand people in the UK alone receive Corona infection treatment in hospitals. This number is 40 percent higher than the point reached at the peak in April, when the first wave of the pandemic was experienced. It is worried that increased socialization during the Christmas period will lead to a greater increase in the number of infection cases.
According to official data, the number of people who died in 28 days after the Corona test was positive since the beginning of the pandemic in England, more than 75 thousand. On Tuesday, the daily number of new infection cases across the UK exceeded 60,000 for the first time.
An opinion poll conducted immediately after Johnson’s announcement revealed that four in five adults in the UK support the closure process. In the statement made by the Prime Minister’s office, it was reported that Boris Johnson canceled the official visit to India later this month to focus on combating the epidemic. In the statement made by Buckingham Palace, it was shared that the traditional open-air parties held in the summer were canceled.
Mass vaccination is key
Schools will be closed for most students, according to new practices enacted in the UK. While people are called to work from home as much as possible, all non-priority workplaces and shops operating in the service sector will be closed. Semi-autonomous governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have introduced similar practices.
Infection rates continue to climb rapidly across Europe, while other countries are restricting public life. Germany has decided to extend the closure process until the end of January, while Italy has decided to keep the national restrictions in effect at weekends and to relax it later in the week.
The latest aid package announced by the British Minister of Finance, Altar, was prepared in addition to the government support of 280 billion pounds announced for this fiscal year. The new shutdown process is expected to cause the economy to decline once again, but not as heavy as the first wave of the epidemic. JP Morgan economist Allan Monks predicts the British economy to decline by 2.5 percent in the first quarter of 2021. This rate was about 20 percent in the second quarter of 2020.
The UK government is placing its hopes on vaccination efforts to end the cycle of shutdown. It is aimed to vaccinate all elderly people and their caregivers who stay in nursing homes until mid-February, all citizens over 70 years old, all healthcare professionals and social workers working in the front line of the health sector, and anyone with a low clinical immune defense.
Cabinet Minister Michael Gove told Sky News that caution should be exercised as to whether mass vaccination would mean a relaxation of restrictions. Gove said, “We will evaluate the progress we made on February 15th. We hope to gradually lift the restrictions from this date. But it is impossible to predict when and how much we will be able to relax the barriers,” Gove said.